Updated: March 4, 2012, 8:24 AM
Updated: March 3, 2012, 11:15 PM
Mitt Romney picked up another win Saturday night in Washington state, taking 38 percent of the vote. The win gives Romney some much-needed momentum heading into a critical Super Tuesday contest.The victory capped a week in which the former Massachusetts governor also won Arizona and a close contest in Michigan. It also provided the Romney camp a jolt of positive news after the candidate slipped up in an interview with a local Ohio reporter and was forced to spend multiple days clarifying his position on a controversial measure to limit birth control coverage.
“I’m heartened to have won the Washington caucuses, and I thank the voters for their support,” Romney said in a written statement shortly after the win. “Every day that passes with Barack Obama in the White House is a day in which America’s recovery from the economic crisis is delayed.”
At stake in Washington are 43 delegates, but the caucuses had no affect on their selection. That will be determined by other GOP events in the coming weeks.
Still, the results were a disappointment for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who had staked his hopes on winning Washington and ended up competing for second place with about 25 percent, narrowly edging former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Paul has not won any states to date.
Paul was the only candidate to appear in Washington on Saturday, while the others focused their campaigns on Tuesday’s big event. He aggressively organized and recruited supporters in the lead up to the caucuses, hoping a win in Washington could propel him to the front of the pack nipping at Romney’s heels.
Saturday’s voting proved to be a big event for the Washington GOP. With some counting still to go, the party had already tallied the votes of more than 40,000 caucus goers. That put turnout far ahead of 2008 Republican caucuses, which saw about 12,000 people participate.
The boost appeared to cause problems in at least one part of the state, where it was reported that some 1,500 people were turned away from the caucuses on Saturday morning.